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Riverhead mulls first overlay district project to help spur revitalization

G2D, a Huntington-based developer, has proposed creating a

G2D, a Huntington-based developer, has proposed creating a five-story mixed-use building with a coworking space and apartments on Osborn Avenue that needs several variances regarding setbacks. Credit: G2D

A long-vacant building in Riverhead is being eyed for the possible site of a five-story mixed-use building, the first such application in the town’s overlay district created this year to spur revitalization in the area.

G2D, a Huntington-based developer, has proposed creating the 50-foot-tall building —which would feature WorkSmart coworking space on the 4,000-square-foot ground floor, a rooftop deck, 39 apartment units, an onsite gym and 35 onsite parking stalls — at 205 Osborn Ave.

Greg Derosa, CEO of G2D Development, said the company began to consider the area last year while working on another project nearby, at 331 E. Main St., a four-story, 38-unit apartment building.

"We saw this as another opportunity to build upon what we’re currently doing out there," Derosa said, adding his company was also attracted to local efforts to improve and revitalize Riverhead. "We believe that Riverhead is growing and becoming more vibrant and is a nice alternative for folks on Long Island to live. It’s certainly a gateway to the East End."

The project needs several variances regarding setbacks and will be back before the town’s Zoning Board at a later date, according to Derosa and Town Hall officials. Derosa said he would like to have the project approved by year’s end, with construction eyed for 2022.

The building, formerly the home of now-closed testing facility Long Island Diagnostic Imaging, has been vacant for several years, according to town officials. G2D’s project marks the first application in the town’s overlay district in downtown Riverhead. The town board voted Jan. 5 to amend the town code to create the district, located in the urban renewal area along Railroad Avenue.

The district allows developers to create mixed-use development on blighted and/or vacant properties that are 20,000 square feet or larger.

Dawn Thomas, Riverhead’s community development director, told Newsday that the application was a big step in the town’s push to revitalize the blighted area after previous efforts to do so over the years have stalled.

"This is a perfect example of what we were hoping to get, which is a proposal for a new building that would bring people to the area and business to the area," Thomas said. "It would eliminate a long-vacant and blighted property and create a new development that would bring new life to the area."

At the town board’s July 1 work session, several board members indicated they liked the proposal. However, Councilwoman Catherine Kent said she was concerned about the building’s height.

Councilman Tim Hubbard told Newsday that he feels the building’s location away from Main Street means its height will not present an issue. Hubbard added that the building application is a sign that Riverhead’s efforts to encourage development in the district area are heading in the right direction.

"The purpose of doing all this is to make it a much nicer area and a nicer part of the town of Riverhead that’s been blighted for so many years," Hubbard said. "It can get cleaned up, have some new buildings, some new retail and it will be a good place to go."

REVITALIZING RIVERHEAD

  • Since Riverhead started taking requests for qualifications from bidders on revitalizing the area on Osborn and Railroad avenues, at least six developers have expressed an interest in building there, according to Dawn Thomas, Riverhead’s community development director.
  • According to Greg Derosa, CEO of G2D Development, the building will seek “some form of IDA assistance.”

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